The following statement comes from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. They will be protesting poor treatment of stagehands at a Live Nation Maroon 5 concert on Thursday, February 19th in Atlanta.
Stagehands to Protest “Poor Performance” at Thurs., Feb. 19, Live Nation-Sponsored
Maroon 5 Concert in Atlanta’s Philips Arena
This Thursday’s performance onstage at the Maroon 5 concert in Atlanta will be great, but backstage it’s a different story. Stagehands work in poor conditions, are paid poverty-level wages, with no benefits – for a job that is often dangerous. On Thursday evening, outside Philips Arena, stagehands and their supporters will hold banners and approach concertgoers with information on this and other “poor performances.”
WHO: Atlanta stagehands and their supporters
WHAT: “Poor Performance” protest against the mistreatment of Atlanta’s backstage workers
WHEN/ WHERE: Outside Philips Arena, Thurs., Feb. 19, 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm
In most major cities and outdoor concert venues, including southern cities such as Birmingham and Charlotte, concert promoter Live Nation pays union-scale wages and stagehands receive benefits and payroll taxes are paid to the state –not in Atlanta. At Philips Arena and venues around the Perimeter, Live Nation uses Crew One, a temping firm that acts as a middleman, to staff concerts. Crew One treats stagehands as independent contractors and avoids paying payroll taxes to the State of Georgia. Workers receive little training, no benefits and sometimes don’t even get water to drink.
Last summer, the roughly 400 stagehands who work for Crew One on Live Nation productions and the shows of other promoters voted by a 2 to 1 margin to form a union. Crew One has refused to bargain with workers despite rulings from the federal National Labor Relations Board.
Shows at Philips Arena and other area venues are primarily “promoter choice.” Concert promoter Live Nation, a publicly-traded corporation with $22 billion in annual revenues, a company that also owns Ticketmaster and charges concertgoers hefty fees on top of high ticket prices could easily correct these substandard conditions. Live Nation has turned a blind eye.
The mistreatment of Atlanta stagehands by employers in the industry is drawing the attention of state lawmakers and the national media. A few days ago, the Washington Post documented the abuses Atlanta stagehands face in a story entitled “How Live Nation exploits low-wage workers to stage its rock concerts.” In January, the magazine In These Times also reported on poor conditions faced by Crew One workers in a story, “Atlanta Stagehands Fight ‘Labor Pimps’ Pushing Temp Work, Low Wages.”
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